SlashGear reported on July 9 that there are rumors Apple is enhancing AirPods with health-related capabilities including heart rate monitoring. According to Apple’s most recent patent, the corporation also wants AirPods to prevent accidents on the road or at noisy construction sites.
Apple describes a contextual audio system that automatically adjusts level to guarantee users can hear vital sounds around them, such as emergency sirens and car horns, in a number of patents submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Through GPS information and other sensor metrics gathered by the user’s smartphone or Apple Watch, the background sound system can specifically determine the user’s journey direction and speed, which allows it to change the volume of the associated left or right headphone. For instance, GPS data indicates that the user is at a busy crossroads, but the user is wearing AirPods in both ears, therefore the user could not be aware of the nearby automobiles when crossing the road. To warn the user of the traffic, the AirPods will in this situation reduce the volume or even pause the playback. AirPods will only lower the volume of the headphones when the data indicates that the user is strolling along the side of the road.
The AirPods will only change the volume of the left earphone, for instance, if the user is facing a road on their left side. AirPods ensure that users can hear emergency announcements around them by reducing the headphone volume.
AirPods may also play the alarm audio from an iPhone or an Apple Watch to inform users to their surroundings. According to the patent, AirPods’ sound can be muted or even stopped in environments where users must concentrate, such as dangerous locales, workplaces, and educational facilities.
The patent also describes a unique sensor that will act in collaboration with other sensors in an iPhone or Apple Watch to track the user’s torso position and respond appropriately.
Apple has also submitted a patent application for “Wireless Ear Bud System With Pose Detection,” which suggests that the company is thinking about integrating a body posture detection system for AirPods. This system will continuously monitor the user’s head tilt angle and limb extension.